After almost 11 years in the making, Brookpark residents sealed the deal on a land swap that will allow the expansion of Hopkins Airport to take off. Under the plan, penned by Cleveland Mayor Mike White and Brookpark Mayor Tom Coyne, Cleveland will buy the IX Center, as well as 135 acres of undeveloped land, and nearly 500 Brookpark homes, making room for a new runway. In exchange, Brookpark gets the NASA Glenn Research Center and ten years of IX Center taxes. 90.3's Renita Jablonski has more on the story.
Renita Jablonski- The deal was approved by about 55% to 45%. Cuyahoga County Board of Elections Director Tom Jelepis was able to announce the results in record time, thanks to the touch-screen electronic voting machines being tested during the election.
Tom Jelepis- I just want to make note that it is about twenty to nine and under normal cirumstances under the punch-card system it would be about twenty to 11, maybe midnight before we got results.
RJ- Dale Kormazis was among the nearly 48% of registered Brookpark voters that came out to cast their vote at the city's recreation center. For Kormazis, saying yes to Brookpark's Issue 1 was the only way to go.
Dale Kormazis- There's really only one way to vote. Brookpark's going to lose like a whole lot of millions of dollars if they don't vote yes on it.
RJ- Resident Steve Nagy shares the same sentiments.
Steve Nagy- I think it's good for the city of Brookpark, I think Cleveland ultimately would get the property anyway.
RJ- For Brookpark Mayor Tom Coyne, the election's an obvious victory. He calls it one of the best things to ever happen to northeast Ohio.
Tom Coyne- This agreement provides for a certain airport expansion, it will provide Cleveland with the capabilities they need at least at this point in time for simultaneous landing and take-off capabilities there. I think it gives the region the opportunity to enhance NASA-Glenn now knowing where it's going to be and I think it's a sigh of relief to everybody in the region who was worried we were going to be hampered with a second-rate airport.
RJ- Still, others are not convinced that the deal is in the best interest of Brookpark. Resident Stephen Schmidbauer says despite the results of the election, he's not silencing his voice of opposition.
Stephen Schmidbauer- I voted no because I feel that some back room deals went on here. I just think that it wasn't done in a correct manner. I think it was kind of underhanded the way it was all kind of foisted on everybody and that's why people shouted and made them put it on the ballot.
RJ- All of Brookpark's city council members were against the deal. But Councilman Brian Mooney says now that the city's voters have spoken, there's no more room to fight.
Brian Mooney- Council could choose to be obstructionists because there's several pieces of legislation that are necessary to implement this agreement and council cannot be bound through its power of zoning. Future councils can't be bound by this agreement but that would just be detrimental to the city so at this point I'm just going to make sure to move forward and make sure that Cleveland lives up to its end of the agreement and to try to protect the homeowners as best as we can and provide an orderly transition on the west end of our city.
RJ- And Coyne says he's more than ready to put the IX Settlement into action.
TC- The voters have ratified it, authorizing me to enter into it, City Council's already passed it, so we move forward and we go forward and begin to get things moving.
RJ- In Brookpark, Renita Jablonski, 90.3 WCPN News.